Review: Dutch super trio Kraak & Smaak go poolside: Miami style here for Toolroom. Indeed this compilation showcases the many shades of house music that soundtracked some serious fun in the sun, at 2018's edition of Miami Music Week. The longtime staples of the UK imprint Jalapeno serve up all things deep, funky, nu-disco and even a bit of French Touch for good measure. Highlights include Lindstrom & Prins Thomas' disco odyssey - translated via their remix of Temples' "Born Into The Sunset", Freerange boss Jimpster's lush and hypnotic "English Rose" (original mix), last year's comeback by Parisian legend Alex Gopher & Pierrick Devin on "Jazz Rock" (receiving another well deserved rinse!) and the inimitable Detroit legend Andres with his remix of Cool Peepl's "Free" (feat Billy Love, Amp Fiddler & Sundiata O.M). Several of the trios funked-up tracks feature throughout in addition to a continuous mix of the playlist.
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from Toolroom's "Poolside Ibiza" compilation strand, namely groovy nu-disco, house and laidback Balearic beats inspired by afternoons spent lounging by the water in stonking White Isle heat. Naturally, there are plenty of gems to be found amongst the 40 unmixed tunes selected by chosen DJs Moullinex and Xinobi, from their own collaborative post-punk/dub number "X Marks The Spot", to the slick '80s synth-pop dreaminess of Tensnake's fine remix of Xinobi's "Far Away Place" and the drowsy, Morricone-influenced soundscape weirdness of Simple Symmetry's remix of Moscoman's "I Ran". Throw in some seriously good cuts from Felipe Gordon, Donald Dust, Pin Up Club and Meera (whose carnival-ready boogie jam "Fine Without You" stands out), and you have a fine collection of summery cuts.
Review: There's a distinctly old school flavour to this compilation as Thee Cool Cats take to the controls. Patrick Topping's "Forget" sees the fast-rising producer serve up insane rave stabs and diva vocal samples over insistent cowbells and slamming beats, while Catz'n'Dogz mine a different part of 90s music culture. The duo's "Booty Comes First" is inspired by the rude and raucous sound of ghetto house, as pre-orgasmic moans and a slamming rhythm reinforce the vocal that "yo booty comes first". At the other end of the emotional spectrum, Tough Love impress greatly with the acid-laced, soulful house of "Dreams", while the next generation of Detroit techno, fronted by Dantiez Saunderson and working with Altus Project returns to early 90s US house with the vocal-led "I Need You".
Unclear Mechanics (original club mix) - (7:19) 128 BPM
Fedde Le Grand - "Metrum" (UMEK remix) - (7:00) 128 BPM
Jack The Groove (original club mix) - (7:33) 125 BPM
UMEK & Beltek - "Let The Bass Kick" (original club mix) - (7:08) 126 BPM
Love To Dance (original club mix) - (6:26) 125 BPM
UMEK vs DJ Dan - "Mighty Wind" (original club mix) - (9:12) 126 BPM
One More Sound (original club mix) - (6:46) 125 BPM
UMEK & Beltek - "Out Of Play" (original club mix) - (6:41) 128 BPM
UMEK & Mike Vale - "Fluid Feel" (original club mix) - (7:34) 127 BPM
Review: Slovenian producer Uros Umek has come a long, long way since the searing minimalism of his Consumer Recreation releases and Zeta Reticula's dark electro. In fact, those early releases have little bearing on Umek's current incarnation as a permanent feature in DJ Mag's top 100 poll or as a White Island-conquering international attraction. As befits a techno DJ of such stature, Umek's sound is geared towards the big room. Shaped by mid-00s minimal, this collection features the insistent, rolling rhythm and pitched up monkey chatter of "Unclear Mechanics" and the insane sirens and drum rolls of his remix of fellow traveler Fedde Le Grand's "Metrum". There are still flashes of his past - the scratchy rhythm of "Jack The Groove" and the ominous chords of his "Mighty Wind" collaboration with DJ Dan - but this collection is very much Umek 2.0.
Various - "Poolside Mexico" (continuous DJ mix) - (1:18:25) 120 BPM
Review: Having already covered the likes of Croatia and Australia, Toolroom's latest Poolside installment is timed to coincide with the BPM festival in Mexico. As such, it's a fizzy sunkissed collection of party house boasting 32 tracks and a bonus DJ mix too! Highlights include the crystalline synth pop interlude "Fall Apart" featuring the breathy vocals of Patrick Baker, the Eats Everything-esque stab-heavy electro houser "It's On You" and the sublimely soft, Euro trance anthem "Spinning Around" by Alex Barck.
Review: The unstoppable Toolroom Longplayer series drops another shedload of Detroit-minded cuts for their latest compilation, featuring some of its casuals who are in no mood for docile house. Instead, you got heavy, teched-out floor dominators by the likes of Mihalis Safras - who is beautifully stripped back and pumped up by techno veteran Heiko Laux - Oscar L, DJ Boris, The YellowHeads and plenty more. As Omar S would say: "Mo' bang for yo' buck!"
Martin Books - "Flitzepulver" (original mix) - (6:35) 128 BPM
Various - "Ibiza 2018 Closing Party" (continuous DJ mix 1) - (1:18:53) 124 BPM
Various - "Ibiza 2018 Closing Party" (continuous DJ mix 2) - (1:19:01) 125 BPM
Review: With the same certainty that the leaves will turn brown and fall from the trees, autumn sees the release of Toolroom's closing party album. It's the label's annual state of the (house) nation address and 2018 is no exception. While this year's edition contains a healthy smattering of feel good house - the most impressive exempts being the vocal grooves of Weiss' "Feel My Needs" and Illyus & Barrientos' "MEA" - there are also more adventurous variants on offer. These include Peggy Gou's tweaked acid take on Shakedown's "At Night", the chord heavy Dusky take on KiNK's "Perth" and the cut-up, abstract "Pale Blue Dot" by rising lo-fi house artist Ross From Friends, which demonstrate that this year, Toolroom is thinking outside the box.